GOVERNMENT OF NASARAWA STATE
THE NEXT LEVEL MANDATE: CONSOLIDATING THE LEGACIES AND CHARTING A FRESH VISION FOR GREATER NASARAWA STATE

BEING TEXT OF THE INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY, ENGR. A. A. SULE, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, NASARAWA STATE, AT LAFIA, ON WEDNESDAY, 29TH MAY, 2019

PROTOCOL

1. Your Excellency, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-makura, my immediate predecessor in Office as Governor of Nasarawa State;

2. His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr. Emmanuel A. Akabe;

3. His Excellency, Hon. Silas Ali Agara, immediate past Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State;

4. The Right Hon. Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly;

5. My Lord, the Hon. Chief Judge of Nasarawa State;

6. My Lords, Temporal and Spiritual;

7. Members of the National Assembly here present;

8. The President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote;

9. Your Excellencies, serving Ambassadors and other members of Diplomatic Corps;

10. Principal Officers and Members of the State House of Assembly;

11. Members of the State Security Council and outgoing members of the State Executive Council;

12. The Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State;

13. The Head of the Civil Service;

14. The National Vice Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), North-Central Geo-political Zone;

15. The State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC);

16. Your Excellencies, former Governors and Deputy Governors;

17. Your Excellencies, former Ministers and Ambassadors;

18. Permanent Secretaries;

19. His Royal Highness, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad 1, Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs;

20. Chairmen and Chief Executives of Commissions, Boards and Parastatals;

21. Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils and Overseers of Development Areas;

22. Your Royal Highnesses, Emirs and Chiefs;

23. Distinguished Guests, Friends of the State Government and Other Well-Wishers at this Occasion;

24. Distinguished Sons and Daughters of Nasarawa State;

25. Gentlemen of the Press;

26. Ladies and Gentlemen.

A few minutes ago, I took the sacred oath of office as Governor of Nasarawa State. By this, I have assumed the mantle of leadership as the fourth elected Governor of our dear State.

2. It is, therefore, with gratitude to the Almighty God that I, most humbly, stand here to address you in the capacity of Governor of Nasarawa State under the banner of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

3. It is our distinct duty to express our heartfelt appreciation to His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the President and Commander-inChief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Leader of our great Party for his exemplary leadership in the affairs of the APC and the country in general. May we seize this opportunity to congratulate Mr. President for his second term NEXT LEVEL mandate. In the same vein, we convey our gratitude to the entire national leadership of the APC.

4. It is neither by might, power nor right, but by Divine Grace that we are bestowed with this amazing honour and unique privilege to serve. This is truly a solemn event.

5. The significance of this occasion lies in the fact that it is a transfer of power between two agreeable leaders of the same political family. This is a clear and cogent indication that, as I chart a new course, I will also consolidate on the legacies and gains of my predecessor.

6. Let me, at this point, appreciate my elder brother and political leader, the immediate past Governor of the State, His Excellency, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-makura. We appreciate him for his iconic achievements and superlative contributions to the State. A testament of the foregoing, are his massive road infrastructure development programmes in which urban, semi-urban and rural roads have been constructed with several others on-going. His contributions to the education sector, include improved school infrastructure and construction of Special Needs Schools to cater for the physically and mentally challenged. In the Health Sector, many achievements have been recorded such as the construction of TA'AL Infectious Disease Diagnoses and Research Centre (TIDDARC), Lafia, the second of its type in the country, which will serve as a hub for the diagnoses, treatment and research of highly infectious diseases such as lassa fever, yellow fever, ebola and other viral diseases in the State and beyond. New hospitals have been established whilst existing ones were upgraded. We cannot forget to mention his adept handling of security issues in the State. His amiable disposition was brought to bear on his skilful resolution of the numerous security crises in the State and, indeed, neighbouring States. In this regard, it is not an exaggeration to refer to him as an illustration of a great reconciliation leader. He has resoundingly bequeathed a legacy of performance. No doubt, his appellation of the “Architect of Modern Nasarawa State” is well-deserved. He has, indeed, left behind a credible template for future development of the State.

7. We further appreciate His Excellency for his unflinching support and abiding faith in the democratic journey leading to this historic event. It may interest this gathering to note that Governor Al-makura regarded the transition to a new Administration as a practical matter of importance and not a mere paper activity that is often the case. He took time to lead me around various projects on the ground and availed me critical information on them. This is a unique attribute for which I am most appreciative.

8. At this juncture, let us take a few minutes to acknowledge with immense gratitude the noble efforts and contributions of the founding fathers of this State who through thick and thin, rain and sunshine laboured to bring about the actualization of the creation of Nasarawa State. We want to pay special tribute to those of them who have departed to the world beyond. May their souls rest in peace, Amen.

9. In the same vein, it is appropriate to acknowledge the contributions of our other predecessors who laid the building blocks for the development of Nasarawa State. In this regard, we appreciate the giant strides of Their Excellencies: Wing Commander Abdullahi Ibrahim of blessed memory; Col. Mohammed Bala Mande (rtd); Distinguished Senator (Dr.) Abdullahi Adamu, CON and Alhaji (Dr.) Aliyu Akwe Doma, OON, of blessed memory in the development of the State. We are determined to continue building on this foundation for a greater Nasarawa State.

10. We wish to thank our traditional rulers for ensuring peace and stability in their respective domains. Your invaluable contributions to the development of the State shall continue to be cherished.

11. I would also like to extend my deepest appreciation to the State Leadership, stalwarts and teeming supporters of our great Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State. Your various roles are highly treasured.

12. Let me also appreciate all our elected officers, our three (3) Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members of House of Representatives, Honourable Members of the State House of Assembly, and to congratulate you all for your individual victories and to further thank you for the concerted efforts that led to the sweeping victory of our great Party, the APC in Nasarawa State. We look forward to working together harmoniously to take our dear State to the NEXT LEVEL.

13. Above all, it is incumbent on us to appreciate the entire citizenry of the State for finding us worthy of their choice. We are confident that we will, in our journey, continue to enjoy the benefit of your goodwill and support at all times. Thank you all. Today belongs to all of us. We are all winners.

14. Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit me to unveil the philosophy and general directive principles of our Administration, and to unfold our Agenda and Policy Thrust.

15. SECURITY: As a matter of priority, we shall place special emphasis on the security of the State. Over the years, there has been a general scenario of recurring security breaches in some parts of the State. This situation has undermined progress in the State. It must be emphasized that security and peace constitute the very basic pre-requisite for overall socio-economic development. In the absence of a secured environment, there will be no investment inflow, locally or internationally, very much needed for the establishment of industries. Industrial growth is a valuable vistas for overall human development. Indeed, development partners will only key into the State's developmental agenda if there is an atmosphere of peace and order. Commercial and agricultural activities which are the mainstay of our local economy can only thrive in a rancour-free environment. Our strategy for addressing the security challenges will be to eliminate the problems of idleness, low level of education, misinformation, rumour mongering, ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry. Accordingly, we will consolidate on the existing community-based conflict resolution mechanism and continue to maintain effective synergy with all Security Agencies in the State.

16. UNITY: Closely related to the issue of security is the concern of the decreasing level of unity amongst our people. It is an indisputable fact that unity in the land is a pre-requisite for peaceful coexistence and meaningful progress. In this connection, our Administration will set up a State Development Council consisting of Elder Statesmen, Community and Opinion Leaders, Religious Leaders and former Public Officers of proven integrity to advise Government on certain crucial issues of State. The Council will also serve as a platform for cross-fertilization of ideas between Government and the people and an instrument for peace and consensus building amongst our people.

17. EDUCATION: Education is vital to the growth of any society. No society can rise above the level of the education of its people. Accordingly, our Administration will continue to accord emphasis on quality education at all levels. The public school system will be reformed to meet the educational needs of the State. Special attention will be given to technical, vocational and ICT learning, as well as special areas such as Medicine, Accountancy and Law. It is our intention to upgrade the existing Skills Acquisition Centres to Technical and Vocational Training Institutions across the State. In this connection, we will partner with the Federal Government to expand the Technology Incubation Centre, Lafia for the purpose of nurturing start-ups in science and technology related businesses and speed up commercialization of Research and Development (R&D) results by effectively linking talents, technology, capital and know-how in order to accelerate the development of new enterprises. We will continue to give due attention to the needs of specially challenged persons and ensure that the Special School in Lafia is well equipped. A special Girl-child education programme will be instituted. We will also restore and sustain advocacy on girl-child education. In pursuit of qualitative education in the State, teacher training and re-training programmes, as well as their welfare shall constitute a major consideration of Government.

18. CIVIL SERVICE: The challenges of the State Civil Service are multiple and varied. Accordingly, the State Civil Service shall be revamped and reformed to establish proper entry point and a standard recruitment process for new entrants. Sustained efforts will be made to get qualified persons from other services or the private sector to shore up the quality of personnel in the service. We would put in place a robust staff welfare scheme for civil servants and a sustainable reward system for those who excel in service. In addition, training and retraining of civil servants would be accorded high priority for efficient and effective service delivery. Government views Labour as partners in progress and will ensure harmonious Government – Labour relations.

19. STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT: With regards to the structure of Government machinery, we will embark on the rationalization of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to a more manageable size as part of our measures to reduce the cost of governance, increase efficiency and maximize manpower utilization. We are mindful of the principle of representation by every Local Government in Government and will ensure compliance.

20. INDUSTRIALIZATION: Industrialization is a cardinal objective of our Government. Employment and wealth creation will be integral part of the overall industrial policy of this Administration. We will adopt an integrated employment creation strategy whereby industrial, agricultural, commercial, vocational and such other related ventures are encompassed. To this end, small, medium and large scale industries shall be encouraged. I wish to call, with a loud voice, on all the people of Nasarawa State to take full advantage of the opportunities that will be provided by this policy, which is aimed at developing our State.

21. YOUTH AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: This is a core aspect of our mandate. Accordingly, a number of initiatives to this effect have been worked out. We shall encourage our youth and women to key into various Vocational Skills Acquisition Programmes and Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMSEs) geared towards poverty alleviation, selfemployment and self-actualisation. We will continue to partner with Agencies, Institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to support and train our youth and women.

22. MINERALS DEVELOPMENT: Nasarawa State is widely acclaimed as the “Home of Solid Minerals”. In order to maximize the benefits from the rich endowment of our State with a variety of mineral resources, our Administration will put in place a Minerals Development Agency to harness the hydrocarbon resources, coal deposits, salt, precious stones and such other mineral assets in the State. We will encourage artisan miners to form cooperatives and register them with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

23. FCT CORRIDOR: In view of our proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Government will create industrial zones for small, medium and large-scale industries, particularly in Karu and Toto axis. To attract investors, Government shall ensure peace and tranquillity in the State and guarantee an enabling environment, including appropriate legal frameworks. In effect, our Administration will support investors by providing roads, electricity supply, water and make land acquisition and leasing less-cumbersome.

24. REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT: This is another important aspect of our development agenda. We are partnering with major Real Estate Developers to provide housing for low, medium and high income earners in our urban settings.

25. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: With regards to our Social Development Agenda, this Administration will put in place relevant policies for sports and cultural development. We will partner with Tourism Agencies to develop the Tourism Sector to serve as a revenue earner for the State. Our tourism assets are enormous indeed and we must, therefore, harness them to our maximum advantage.

26. AGRICULTURE: Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of Nasarawa State, with about 80% of the population engaged in farming. The major part of our agenda is to encourage commercial agriculture in our areas of comparative advantage and boost value addition to our crops by laying solid foundation for agro-allied industries. To this end, Government will work with interested investors to drive the sector to diverse levels of growth. Farm inputs such as fertilizer, improved seeds and seedlings, as well as agro-chemicals will continue to be distributed promptly to our local farmers. We have set our targets in agriculture. We will continue to monitor the full expansion of Olam Rice Farm in Doma and Dangote Sugar Refinery in Awe very closely.

27. The Nasarawa State Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) will be strengthened and repositioned for effective actualization of its mandate. Government will explore all avenues to access our farmers to available agro-financing schemes and institutions to enable them go into agricultural businesses. We will encourage farmers to form cooperatives where there are none for ease of access to funds, tools and other inputs. The three (3) major components of agriculture, namely: production, processing and marketing, will be accorded corresponding attention by Government. Furthermore, the research capacities of the Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University, as well as the State College of Agriculture, Lafia will be strengthened.

28. ENERGY: Energy constitutes the power base of all developmental activities. In this regard, Government will sustain the partnership with the Federal Government to complete the Farin Ruwa Independent Power Project. We will also partner with private investors in the solar power manufacturing sector for the purpose of serving the needs of the citizenry and ensuring the success of the Industrialization Agenda of Government.

29. REVENUE GENERATION: On the vexing but crucial matter of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Government will develop innovative strategies and deploy technology for the optimum generation, collection and management of all revenue due to the State. Government will also incentivate tax payers by laying out infrastructures for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and similar entities. Government will design enlightenment and sensitization programmes for the people to understand the need for them to meet their tax obligations so that they could get more from Government.

30. INVESTMENT: Given my background and coming from the organised private sector, I consider investment as a critical instrument in the economic development agenda of this Government. To this effect, we intend to give the private sector cardinal role to play in driving the economic development activities of the State. Accordingly, Government shall adopt a robust investment policy and drive which will be structured on interim, short, medium and long term arrangements. Government will establish a onestop shop Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to process, regulate and manage all investments of the State and to also drive our investment initiatives. We shall explore the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach for special infrastructural development projects in the areas of railway services, health, energy, water supply and roads. We assure our potential investors that Government will deploy strong political will
and consider granting some special support and incentives to our pioneer investors.

31. DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIPS: This Administration acknowledges the critical role of international organisations and development partners in our efforts to uplift the living standards of our people and to develop critical infrastructure in the State. In this regard, Government will endeavour to meet its counterpart obligations to our Development Partners. In particular, we shall key into the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, alongside such other global initiatives. Our Administration will partner and network with recognised Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations towards achieving our developmental agenda.

32. GOOD GOVERNANCE: Good Governance is the mainstay and defining essence of democratic Governments. It is through the process of governance that State resources, both human and material, are harnessed and driven to actualize the policies and programmes of Government and, indeed, the aspirations of the general citizenry. We will, therefore, uphold the principles of good governance as a cardinal objective of this Administration. We will establish systems, processes and institutions that will enhance transparency, probity and accountability in the management of State resources in line with international best practices. This is necessary to give our potential investors, both local and foreign, confidence to bring their capital and invest in Nasarawa State.

33. RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER ARMS OF GOVERNMENT: Our Administration will respect the doctrine of separation of powers between the three Arms of Government, namely: the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. We will ensure synergy and harmony in our working relations and operations. We will welcome good ideas, innovation and creativity into governance intended to make life more comfortable and happier for our people. This underscores my basic philosophy and guiding principle of leadership.

34. LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION: We consider Local Government Administration as the very pulse of governance because it deals with service delivery at the grassroot level. It is the closest to the citizenry and the first and last line of official contact with the people. Accordingly, we will, in consultations with appropriate Arms of Government as required by the extant laws, initiate reforms of the Local Government Administration in the State, aimed at improving their capacity and effectiveness in the discharge of their mandate of efficient service delivery to our people at the grassroots.

35. TRADITIONAL INSTITUTIONS: Traditional Institutions occupy a pride of place in our lives. They are the custodians of our culture, values and customs. Accordingly, further attention will be given to our traditional institutions so as to enhance the performance of their roles. The complementary role of our royal fathers in maintaining security in their respective domains cannot be over-emphasized. In this connection, we shall in consultation with the State House of Assembly propose appropriate legislations to accord traditional rulers specific roles and areas of responsibility in governance particularly in the maintenance of security in their respective domains. We have no doubt that given the calibre and disposition of our royal fathers, we will continue to enjoy their maximum support and cooperation.

36. FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE: It is conventional to talk about recording some achievements within the first 100 days in office by new Administrations. We shall not be an exception to this. We have, therefore, identified some high impact projects to achieve this objective in the interim before medium and longterm arrangements take effect.

37. Accordingly, we will execute the underlisted projects and programmes: i. Set up the State Economic Management and Investment Advisory Council;

ii. Review and reform our civil service structure;

iii. Review the payment of pension and gratuity and commence payment;

iv. Visit the payment of salary arrears with a view to commence payment;

v. Completion of the Lafia Cargo Airport, Kwandare;

vi. Commencement of the construction of Rural roads in each of the three (3) Senatorial Zones;

vii. Commencement of rural electrification in, at least, three (3) villages in the State;

viii. Commencement of the construction of 2Km solar power street light projects in each of the thirteen (13) Local Government Areas;

ix. Commencement of the construction of Technology Innovation Hubs in Lafia, Akwanga, Keffi and Karu;

x. Provision of State-wide free medical outreach;

xi. Screening and training of youth for small scale agricultural and trading enterprises in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN);

xii. Supply of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs to farmers for the current farming season;

xiii. Construction of some classroom blocks in the Local Governments; and

xiv. Execute Agreement with, at least, another major investor in agricultural development in the State.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, before I conclude this address, I wish to place on record our appreciation and gratitude to the various security agencies in the State for their role in ensuring a secured environment for us to operate. We shall continue to uphold the enviable synergy with all the security agencies in order to achieve greater level of security of lives and property in the State. I, therefore, urge you to keep up the good work.

With great sense of affection, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to my dear parents and loving wives for their precious presence, untiring encouragement and supportive role in the entire journey. And to the rest of the family, my siblings, friends and associates, you all deserve my big THANK YOU.

Let me, once again, appreciate His Excellency, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-makura, his Deputy, Honourable Silas Ali Agara; Members of the State Executive Council and other Political Appointees; Members of the National and State Assemblies; the Judiciary; our Party stalwarts for their support.

I wish to specially appreciate His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, my friend, Dr. Emmanuel A. Akabe and his family for his commitment to this ticket and total devotion to the journey leading to our victory. I wish to assure you that this partnership will be enduring throughout our tenure and beyond.

It is also imperative to use this occasion to once again call upon all those who contested with us at both the primary and general elections to join hands with us in our collective resolve and journey towards a greater Nasarawa State. We must appreciate and accept the fact that the State belongs to all of us, and so we are individually and collectively obliged to nurture it. I thank you for your spirit of sportsmanship.

And to the members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, we thank you most profoundly for your tireless reportage of our activities throughout the

entire journey. We wish to assure you that we will continue in this partnership as we embark on the journey of governance of Nasarawa State for the benefit of our people.

Let me also appreciate the painstaking efforts and inputs of the State Transition Committee for producing a credible referral document that will aid the new Administration in its stewardship. I believe that the dedication of members of the Committee to this onerous and historic assignment reflects their commitment to the development of Nasarawa State. I thank the Cochairmen and members of the Committee for a job well done.

In conclusion, let me state here that, in the spirit of the oath which I have subscribed to, I will, in all my actions as Governor of Nasarawa State, be guided by the following solemn declarations:

i. I am in this office by divine grace and mindful that there will be a day of reckoning and to account for all my deeds;

ii. I will always strive to be fair and just to all manner of persons, irrespective of tribe, creed or religion, gender, age or social status;

iii. I will endeavour to be a leader who not only knows, but also understands and appreciates; who not only hears but also listens; who not only looks but also sees; who not only touches but also feels;

iv. I will run an all-inclusive Government by carrying the people along for the collective good of all; and

v. Governance is all about service delivery and I shall work to ensure that democracy as a form and process of Government remains meaningful and relevant to meet the material needs of the people in a practical and effective manner.

Kindly allow me, therefore, to end this address with a simple prayer: May it please the Almighty God to continue to strengthen us and convert our adversity to prosperity; our reverses into fortunes; our draw-backs into fall-backs; our trials into triumph and our plight and blight into delight. Amen.

Thank you all.

Long Live the All Progressives Congress (APC) ! Long Live Nasarawa State !! Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria !!!